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Covering your outside air conditioning unit...Is it a Good Idea?

Posted by Bonnie Bornstein Fertel on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 @ 04:38 PM

As the weather changes and we prepare for winter . shoud  you cover your outside AC unit

So you're wondering...

Should you cover your outdoor air conditioning condensing unit?


As fall approaches, the leaves are falling, and outdoor tidying up is the theme of the season. 

This is a question we’re asked repeatedly. While we’re a little early for this coming winter, we thought we might mention it to you now so that you can be prepared for next season in advance.

The Weather in New Jersey is definitely seasonal. Even though we’re experiencing strange weather patterns we can still count on cold winters and hot summers and spring and fall, well, somewhere in between. There’s rain, snow, sleet, hail, and lots and lots (hopefully) of sun. We usually run the whole gamut of temperatures and weather conditions in any given year. We protect our plants from the cold, sometimes wrapping them with burlap. We often bring in outdoor furniture, place heaters in our ponds, drain and cover our pools, because in New Jersey it's imperative that anything that has to be left outside be adequately protected.


But, when it comes to an outside air conditioning unit, well….the story may be very different.

Here are the Pros:

• A cover can protect the painted outside cover of the unit
• A cover can keep the rain, snow, ice, and other precipitation from getting inside the unit
• A cover can prevent small leaves, branches and other objects from getting caught in the fins of the unit

Here are the Cons:

• A cover can allow condensation to rust your unit! Moisture can be trapped between the cabinet and the cover you have ever-so-gently and lovingly placed on your unit. The end result? Moisture will lead to rust
• A cover can promote mold and mildew that will damage your unit
• A cover can create a home for insects and other vermin that want to come in from the cold

An alternative: Place a small sheet of plywood over the top of the unit. You can hold this down with a few bricks or a couple of heavy rocks.

Ok, so you’re not convinced? If you absolutely feel the need to use a cover…..please don’t use plastic of any sort. Instead, buy something made out of a breathable material and place it on the top only of the outdoor condensing unit. Hold this cover in place with the brick or rocks we talked about earlier, but, be sure to leave the sides open so the air can properly circulate around the unit.

And, while we’re talking about air conditioning condensing units…. It’s important to have your equipment serviced annually to keep it running efficiently. Annual AC Service may help you avoid costly air conditioning repairs. Check out our website to learn about The Benefits of Annual Service for your Heating and Air Conditioning or to Schedule heating or air conditioning repair or maintenance services. Have you schedule your annual heating tune-up service?

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Topics: AC Maintenance Tips

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